Elizabeth Smart says she was sexually assaulted on a plane
Elizabeth Smart has revealed she was sexually assaulted on an airline flight last year.
She’s talking about it publicly for the first time, telling CBS This Morning she was asleep on the plane on the way back to Salt Lake City when she was jerked awake when she felt a man touching her.
“I felt someone’s hand rubbing in between my legs on my inner thigh,” said Smart.
Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped & sexually assaulted when she was 14, tells @GayleKing she was sexually assaulted again last summer. The experience inspired her to launch “Smart Defense” — a program teaching women the skills & confidence they need to protect themselves. pic.twitter.com/YNLF7lERc4
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 6, 2020
Smart is a kidnapping and sexual assault survivor. She travels the nation to help other women overcome abuse. Yet she was not prepared for what happened.
“I was shocked. The last time someone touched me without my say so, was when I was kidnapped. I froze. I did not know what to do,” she said. “I kept saying to myself, you’re Elizabeth Smart, you should know what to do.”
She said the man didn’t even apologize or give a reason why he was touching her. She told Delta. She says she knows it was not the airline’s fault, it was the man’s fault.
Delta immediately offered to help, and the investigation has been turned over to the FBI.
“I don’t want him to be preying on other girls,” she said.
Her husband suggested she work with a family friend trained in self-defense. It made her realize she’s not doing enough. So she created a self-defense class for women and girls, to give them the tools they need to protect themselves. They call it Smart Defense.
Smart told CBS she believes she might have had the confidence to attempt to escape her kidnappers when she was 14, if she’d had the physical training her class teaches.
The most recent data from the FBI shows sexual assaults on planes are on the rise.
In fiscal year 2014, 38 cases of in-flight sexual assault were reported to the FBI. In the 2017 fiscal year, that number increased to 63, the New York Times reported.
Today’s Top Stories
- Father of girl who died in Kaysville parade is thankful for those who helped
- GoFundMe started to remember 8-year-old girl who died in Kaysville parade
- Could a gas strike work? One expert doubts it
- Family of Zane James speaks out after settlement reached with Cottonwood Heights
- The Great Salt Lake water level reaches a historic low as Utah continues to face extreme drought
- 8-year-old girl in critical condition after getting injured at Kaysville parade
- Anonymous donor offers $50K to help find missing South Salt Lake man
- Dog dies after being left in hot car for more than an hour
- Spanish Fork house catches fire after fireworks not properly extinguished
- Highland Park parade shooting suspect charged with 7 counts of murder, state’s attorney says